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Companies Operating in Norwood and Worcester Settle with EPA for Clean Water Act Violations

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EPA Public Affairs

BOSTON - Manufacturing facilities in Norwood and in Worcester, subsidiaries of a multinational building materials company, have taken steps to come into compliance with federal clean water laws in order to settle claims by the US Environmental Protection Agency that they discharged stormwater and contaminated groundwater in violation of their permits and violated federal oil spill prevention and discharge laws.

Saint-Gobain Abrasives, Inc. and Saint-Gobain Ceramics & Plastics, Inc., located at 1 New Bond St in Worcester, and CertainTeed Corp. and Bird Inc., located at 1077 Pleasant St in Norwood, all subsidiaries of Saint-Gobain Corp., agreed to pay penalties totaling more than $250,000 and to do environmental projects worth more than $200,000.

EPA alleged that all four companies failed to comply with federal discharge permits and federal Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) regulations. EPA also alleged that the Norwood facility also discharged a harmful amount of oil into the Neponset River.

The Worcester companies agreed to pay a $131,000 penalty and buy and install stormwater treatment devices in the Worcester municipal storm sewer system, costing about $100,000.

The Norwood companies agreed to pay a $120,800 penalty and fund a hotspot monitoring program and a stormwater retrofit design program, which together will cost about $100,190. The programs, which will be carried out by the Neponset River Watershed Association, are expected to reduce the impact of stormwater pollution on the Neponset River and its tributaries.

"The actions taken by these manufacturing plants resulting from these settlements will help protect our waterways, part of New England's critical natural environment," said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. "This action should also encourage other companies to make sure they comply with their water discharge permits and spill prevention plans."

Saint-Gobain's Worcester facility was also ordered to eliminate unauthorized discharges by relining a subsurface pipe to eliminate the infiltration of contaminated groundwater into the pipe. EPA also ordered the Worcester facility to apply for a permit for unauthorized stormwater outfalls. The facility must also continue to investigate the reasons for elevated metal levels in stormwater, by installing control measures to minimize metals loadings and conducting monitoring to evaluate the effectiveness of those control measures.

EPA found the Worcester facility had violated and continues to violate the federal Clean Water Act by discharging unpermitted stormwater and contaminated groundwater from the facility, and by not fully investigating the reason for elevated metals levels in stormwater discharged from the facility.

Saint-Gobain is the holding company for North American operations of French materials group Compagnie de Saint-Gobain. Its subsidiaries produce and distribute a wide range of consumer, construction, and industrial items. Saint-Gobain Abrasives and Saint-Gobain Ceramics & Plastics manufacture abrasives, ceramics, and refractories at the Worcester facility. CertainTeed and Bird manufacture roofing shingles at the Norwood facility. The companies cooperated with EPA in resolving the violations and have agreed to take steps so they will be in compliance with federal regulations.

This case stems from a June 2013 inspection at the Worcester facility and a November 2012 inspection of the Norwood facility.

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